Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Armed America

Don't Mess With Texas

It seems to me we are more and more arming the American population. It is definitely happening in Texas. Texas already has a relatively lax set of concealed/open carry laws. When the laws regulating gun carrying were first enacted, there were several restrictions. The handgun had to be concealed. There were many places where a gun could not be carried even with a carry permit. 

In 2015, the concealed carry laws were modified to allow open carry. That means a now License to Carry (LTC) permit holder could strap a six gun to their hip just like Matt Dillon did in the 1870's. When the law first went into effect in January 2016, I saw several guys walking around with exposed guns. I must say it was a little disconcerting, mostly because those toting a gun did not look like the most mature or intelligent folks. Since then, the openly exposed gun toters have decreased. I assume they are still carrying concealed guns. It has always been legal to openly carry a long gun (rifle) in public even without an LTC. That right is usually reserved for demonstrations of some kind. While the gun rack in the pickup truck rear window is now usually empty, I still see a few rifles or shotguns.  

One of the ironies today is that when I was growing up, I had very realistic toy and cap guns. No one every questioned 10 year olds walking around with a fancy holster and almost perfect replica of a Roy Rodgers six gun. Now, there are laws banning realistic toy guns and kids get shot by cops for having one. Progress? Safer? 

The Texas legislature has steadily reduced the number and types of places that can totally ban guns. Public Texas universities and colleges can no longer have a blanket ban on guns on campus. Private universities still have an option and most have opted to continue their ban on campus carry.

This year the Texas legislature voted to reduce the license fee for gun carry permits. First-time license fees will drop from $140 to $40 and renewal fees go from $70 to $40. 

Since guns are bulky, fairly expensive and require a license to carry, some Texans need another means of self-defense. Our legislature is working on a bill to allow carrying knives over 5½ inches long. A couple of years ago, Texas invalidated all local knife laws that were more restrictive than the state laws. I'm guessing Crocodile Dundee can now visit Texas. Maybe Jim Bowie can return to the Alamo too.

After the wild west faded in the late 19th century, side arms use drastically declined. Now it is ramping up again and I'm not sure why. That's a topic for another post. I am sure that there are far more people carrying guns in Fort Worth now than in 1900-01 when Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid visited town. 

If I get shot or stabbed because of the loosening of the gun and knife laws, I'm going to be pissed. If I get killed, I'm going to be really... Oh, nevermind, I'm going to be dead. 

Next up will probably be legal grenade launchers and missiles on the legislature calendar.

Didn't Wyatt Earp ban handguns in Dodge City? Was he way ahead or way behind his time?


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